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Jeremy Hunt may get ‘wiggle room’ for pre-election tax cuts after lower public borrowing than forecast

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt who says the Government’s plan to halve inflation ‘is working – plain and simple’ (PA Wire)
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt who says the Government’s plan to halve inflation ‘is working – plain and simple’ (PA Wire)

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt may get some “wiggle room” for pre-election tax cuts after lower public borrowing than forecast.

Official figures showed August public sector net borrowing at £11.6 billion, lower than the £13 billion predicted by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Borrowing for the financial year so far hit £69.6 billion, below the £81 billion forecast.

Ashley Webb, of Capital Economics, said: “We would be surprised if the Chancellor doesn’t find some wiggle room for tax cuts and/or spending rises in the Budget in March 2024.”

Meanwhile, an Ipsos poll found just 15 per cent of renters expect Britain’s general economic conditions to improve over the next year.

Two thirds believe economic woes will deepen.

A quarter of homeowners with a mortgage expect economic conditions to improve over the next 12 months, 49 per cent to decline.

For all adults in Britain, 20 per cent expect better economic conditions, down from 28 per cent in July, 55 per cent get worse, unchanged.

Gideon Skinner, of Ipsos UK, said: “Optimism is in particularly short supply among women, the under 55s, public sector workers and renters.”

A study by WPI Economics for Trust for London found over the last three years private renters and mortgage holders had seen the price of their basket of goods and services rise 24 per cent, less than the 29 per cent for outright homeowners and 27 per cent for social renters.

But the blow to private rented households was most on essential items.

Manny Hothi, the trust’s chief executive, said: “The impact of inflation has not been felt equally across the capital.”